Teenager Hubert haughtily regards his mother with contempt, and only sees her tacky sweaters and kitsch decorations. In addition to these irritating surface details, there is also his parent's cherished mechanisms of manipulation and guilt. Confused by this love/hate relationship that obsesses him more and more each day, Hubert drifts through the mysteries of adolescence - artistic discoveries, illicit experiences, the opening-up to friendship, and ostracism. The turbulent relationship between mother and son unfolds with a compelling combination of savage fury and melting affection. The stunning, semi-autobiographical directing debut of 20-year-old actor Xavier Dolan.Written by
Warsaw Film Festival
During the recent Cannes Film Festival, while going over tweets on in competition films, the most passionate responses seemed to be for Xavier Dolan's fifth film, Mommy (it ended up winning the Jury prize). I had been hearing good things about Dolan for the past few years (mostly that he was a shockingly great director for someone so young - he directed Mommy when he was only 25 and his first film, I Killed My Mother, at 19), so, his first three films being on Netflix Instant, I decided to take the plunge. And, I must say, the buzz is more than justified. I Killed My Mother, which is most often named as his best work, is an absolutely great film - and, yes, it was directed when Dolan was only 19! It helps that the story is semi-autobiographical - the teenage point of view is very important to the film, and it's easily one of the most honest films ever made about teenagers. What's more amazing is that equal time and empathy is given to the mother character. It's hard to believe a teenage boy would have this much understanding of her point of view. Dolan himself plays Hubert, an arrogant, pretentious 16 year-old who hates his mother (Anne Dorval). While Dorval doesn't come off as a completely innocent character, either, Dolan realizes that his character is kind of a little prick. The two are constantly at each other's throats. There isn't much plot, but it's so beautifully observed. Honestly, while the film is not hard to watch and is actually kind of humorous, this hit so close to home for me that I felt devastated throughout. Both of the leads are wonderful, particularly Dorval (she also stars in Mommy, which is something of a sequel, at least in spirit). I should also mention that Dolan is a world class filmmaker. One would expect the actual cinema to be sloppy, but he pays a lot of attention to his visual compositions. This is absolutely fantastic.
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